Sunday, 23 September 2007

Good Luck.

For a long time I hated the saying, Good luck.

‘Good luck’.

What does it mean?

I’m not able enough to succeed so I need luck on my side?

My trouble with the term started when I was introduced to Holden Caulfield. He pointed out the stupidity of it all and it made sense. Good luck is as phoney as it gets.

So I adopted the term; All the best.

‘All the best.’

That sounded more genuine and caring - as that’s what I am so it would be nice to put it out there.

But my problem was that I didn’t understand the term, ‘Good luck.’ So now that I do I won’t be so critical and judging of those who say it to me.

My understanding came when I was watching a program on television and a man said what he thought ‘Good Luck’ meant to him. He said ‘its where preparation meets opportunity.’ I thought that’s genius and completely true.

So that got me thinking.

Say we’re three years from now. I’m in the high street looking through a window to the biz and a smart man in a suit approaches me. He asks ‘If I’m here just to look or do I want to enter.’ He points to the door. It has a BBC plaque on it. Or it could be C4. I say ‘Yeah I want to enter. More than anything.’

So he says to me ‘What do you do? What’s your stock and trade?’

I say ‘Writer. I’m a scriptwriter.’

I sense interest under his intimidating appearance. He must be a producer or a top exec.

He asks me ‘What do you write?’

I say ‘Mainly drama. There’s nothing better.’

He then says ‘What are you working on now?’

I get nervous and tell him ‘Nothing at the moment.’ and then bend the truth ‘I’m in between projects.’

He then says ‘Tell me about the last script you wrote.’

I hesitate and then say ‘I haven’t actually completed a script yet.’

Do I need to say anymore?

Nope. You did yourself proud.

The man bids me a good day and goes through the door. I catch a brief glimpse inside but couldn’t make anything out. The door then shuts.

I think most writer starts out by being in the writers bubble and don’t write much or anything. Its the dreamland. The fantasy of doing without the actual doing.

‘I’m a dreamer. I want to write films and television.’

Its how we became to write but now we have to venture out into the world and take it seriously.

So this idea of preparation meets opportunity got to me and made me think that if I’m to benefit from this ‘Good luck’ then I should be prepared for when it happens. I've realised that I should stop dreaming about this career and accept that its a reality and start working towards it.

A good piece of advice from Stephen King, as he points out in 'On Writing' - is:

‘Writing shouldn’t feel like a chore.’

Friday, 21 September 2007

Rewrite. Rewrite. Rewrite.

That’s scriptwriting. We all know.

But is it natural to rewrite everything in life?

Essays. Letters.

Of course.

Emails, blogs and even texts messages? Does it matter that they’re not the polished pieces of art you want them to be?


I spend hours refining emails. Not the short ones. Although it does take a while to get it right. Does it sound right? Do I sound like an arse? Did I get my point across. Etc. But does it really matter? Emails aren’t meant to be like essays. They’re not being marked. And if i offend someone it wasn't my intention. But as long as we stay emailing then that’s a good sign.


I spend hours perfecting the perfect blog entry, which goes against the whole point. Blogs are meant to be natural and spontaneous. Nope. Not my blog. For a day or so after I’ll keep re-reading a particular entry to make sure its exactly what I wanted to say and if I say it right. Fair enough. I think. I don’t want people to get the wrong message and I certainly don’t want to sound like a patronising arse.

But then that leads into going over another, then another and then the whole lot. This is a problem. So I apologise to subscribers, if any if you have hundreds of emails about my blog updates when in truths there’s probably only two new entries.

But texts messages?

Is this whole rewrite business getting a little out of hand?


I will spend quite an unnatural amount of time perfecting the perfect and most suitable response to a text message. ‘Is it too much?’, ‘Too little?’, ‘No that doesn’t sound right’, ‘I don’t think he’ll get the joke.’ etc.

So that explains my delayed reply. Even a day or so after.

Also with email and text message replies; I have to feel like its time to reply. It needs to feel right to me. Its weird. And a little compulsive. You can’t force these masterpieces.

With art it should be natural.

Has this entry got out of hand yet? Yes. And much earlier. But I think the thing I’m trying to say is ‘Don’t censor yourself.’ In your writing, scripts, emails, blogs or whatever. If you do then your really living out a persona and hiding your real self.

A nice piece of advice, I forget who said it. But it goes something like this:

‘Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.’ -Cyril Connolly

This wasn’t the one I was thinking of but it pretty much says the same thing. And I’m sure you can draw the difference between personal replies and scripts.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

As the saying goes.

‘An idea doesn’t exist unless its in more than one place.’

A good point and true. But when I first heard it I didn’t take much notice. Well I had no reason to at that stage. Its only when I came close to losing everything (a third time) I realised how important it was.

If there are ideas that you just couldn’t bare to part with or it would literally be the end of the world if you lost everything. Then backing it up in one form just isn’t enough.

I’m sure that this applies to those ideas that are floating around in your head and forming in their own time.

‘It’s all up here in my head.’

That’s all well and good. But really what good is it there? It may be forming but there’s still nothing to show. No back up for amnesia. It could happen.

Just play it safe and write everything down. Back everything up. Not once or twice. But go to the extreme. Store it on a memory stick, a data cd, online file storage, hard copy. Etc. And regularly.

If you believe in your ideas its not worth the risk.